Monday, May 30, 2016

Why I Chose Clear Braces

Making the decision to get braces as an adult was not an easy one, but I am so glad I did. There were a number of things to consider before determining which type of braces would work best for me. Ultimately, I decided to go with clear braces and below I breakdown the main factors why.  

1. Cost. When comparing traditional (metal) braces, clear braces, Incognito (lingual) braces and Invisalign, I found that traditional and clear braces were the least pricey. Incognito braces are the most recent addition to the array of orthodontic treatments. The actual brackets are custom made for each tooth and the results are said to be the most precise because the orthodontist has more control over your tooth movement. It may be difficult to find certified orthodontists able to provide this type of treatment. My orthodontist told me that he had to be trained in Germany! If you are somewhat frugal like I am, I'd definitely consider traditional or clear braces.  

2. Effectiveness. Let's face it, no one is planning to undergo a painful and expensive treatment that will not provide optimal results. From talking with my dentist and after some orthodontic consultations, I decided that Invisalign would not be the best option for me. From my research and conversations with professionals, Invisalign seems best used for minor orthodontic treatments. In my case, I had some crowding and also an overbite that needed correcting. After deciding that Incognito was out of the picture due to the cost, it came down to traditional or clear braces as the best option. If you are willing to pay more for the treatment, Incognito seems to offer the most precise results, as mentioned earlier.

3. Visibility. Well, I am 25 years old and not really feeling the metal mouth look.  With this in mind, my options were clear or Incognito braces and Invisalign. The most invisible option here is Incognito, since the brackets are behind the teeth and easily unseen. The next option would be Invisalign, with only the possibility of having a slight plastic-like look to your teeth. Last were clear braces. The brackets are clear, however the thin wire can be viewed when someone is nearby.  I decided that I could live with that! I also liked that the braces are almost unseen in pictures.


4. Pain. Just the thought of a wire and metal brackets rubbing against my tongue, made any plans of incognito braces dwindle quickly. After searching online I found a video from Youtuber WhatDaMell. She explains how painful the braces were initially and how she ate soup for about a month after getting the braces due to the pain! I'd personally rather have rubbing against my cheeks instead of cuts on my tongue. Also, I didn't want to have any difficulty talking. She mentioned having a slight lisp when speaking. I worked as a corporate recruiter at this time and most of my days involved talking with candidates and hiring teams.


5. Treatment Duration. I am working on being more patient, however when it comes to the treatment time I wanted it to be as quick as possible. In this case, Invisalign would have taken the longest amount of time. Also a down side of Invisalign is that the person wearing Invisalign has be more responsible with the treatment by keeping the trays on for at least 22 hours a day, only removing them for dental cleaning and eating. I didn’t want that high possibility of a delayed treatment. Incognito braces also have shorter duration, due to the higher effectiveness.

I hope this helps someone considering braces. Best wishes to you on your journey to having a better, brighter smile!


Jess

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Live differently

Blue skies and green fields
Dark nights and bright lights
Long road ahead but short time span
Make your life worthwhile.


Breathe in the adventures of the world
See beyond the natural
Feel both the outer parts and the inner
Live and win everyday.


Listen to what you cannot hear
Speak the words that you cannot say
Touch what is out of reach
Go where you have never been.


Learn the things that have been forgotten
Find the treasures that have been hidden
Read more than books
Tell more than stories.


Play the game of life
Aim away from the target
Build with paper instead of bricks
Give more than you take


Live in a different way



Jess

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Are you prepared for an emergency?





Some call it Murphy, others bad luck and many of us just call it life. We all have experienced or will experience, an unplanned situation. Maybe it's a job loss, an unexpected addition to the family, or even an unfortunate accident.

So many things can pop up into our lives and throw us off balance. An emergency fund is something that can really help with occasional mishaps. Dave Ramsey, a very well-known financial adviser and best-selling author, proposes 7 baby steps to help us gain financial independence. It’s no surprise to me, that first step recommended is to save $1,000 in an emergency fund. Among Dave's baby steps include getting out of debt, saving and investing for retirement. Below I've listed the baby steps outlined by Dave. 

Baby Step 1Build a $1,000 Emergency Fund
This is the starting point! Dave makes the case that this sets the stage for everything beyond this step. He even goes on to say that things will be way more challenging, to implement the plan without  this step. Why? Well, let’s think about it for a second. If you’re trying to get out of debt or save money, and something comes up out of the blue, you’ll need to either stop the debt payments, add on another debt to cover costs or stop the savings process. Dave encourages us to think of the emergency fund just like insurance, it’s not there to gain interest, but to insure us when situations occur.
         
Baby Step 2  Pay off all debts (outside of your house)
This is huge! This point here is why I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey for the past year. Dave explains the debt snowball as a key tool for debt freedom and it really works! The debt snowball is the process of lining up all of your debts (minus your house loan) and paying each debt minimum each month while using any additional to pay extra on the smallest debt. You keep the process going until all of your debts are paid.   

Baby Step 3 Save 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
This one is an extension of step 1. Now that the debts are gone, you can build an effective emergency fund.

Baby Step 4 Invest 15% of household income into retirement funds
Save, save and save some more! Dave recommends saving money into a Roth IRA and other pre-tax retirement.

Baby Step 5College funding for children.
I do not have children, so I will be passing this one up, however Dave suggest saving money into a 529 savings fund or ESA (education saving account) if you indeed have children.

Baby Step 6Pay off home early
Now it’s time to fully get out of debt and have zero debt payments! So much interest can be saved by paying your home off early. Plan to pay your house off in less than 15 years instead of 30+ years, which is the norm for most people.

Baby Step 7 Build wealth and give
Now here is the fun part! The last step is all about continuing to grow your wealth and most importantly enjoying it! Time to celebrate your hard work!

Well there you have it - the financial roadmap from ‘Uncle Dave’. I can speak from experience of how helpful it is to plan for emergencies. After following Dave and implementing his steps, an emergency feel less like a punch in the face and more like a little splinter. No, it's not fun. And yes, it’s annoying. However, it’s manageable. 

Alright folks, let's save up some cash and develop an emergency fund. The next time life happens, let’s be ready to take the punch! 


Jess

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Blind and Foolish





I tried to be as nice to you as I could
I loved you like no other
I wanted to make you happy
But all I did was lose apart of myself

I gave up myself for you
I did whatever you wanted of me
My only goal was to please you
Now I just wish to forget you

I try each day to put you out my mind
But it makes me think of you more
I suppose I loved you too much
I gave up too much to have you

I trusted you blindly and foolishly
Not listening to the distrust I felt inside
I would never believe you were not good for me
Although many people tried to tell me

Stupidly I trusted you over my best of friends 
I wanted too badly for you to love
I didn’t care about anyone but you
Until I realized that the love I had was unreturned

You never knew how much I cared
How much I gave of myself
You never understood my feelings
Or what I gave up to have you

Jess

Monday, May 16, 2016

Love

Keeping all of your feelings inside... 
Why is it so hard to end a love 
But so easy to start one 
So hard to tell a person your feelings 
But even harder to keep them inside 



When do you know when to love 
And when to stop loving 
When to end a love 
And how to start a new one....




Friday, May 13, 2016

5 Resume Writing Tips from a Corporate Recruiter

I am often asked to edit a friend or family members’ resume, so I wanted to provide some advice to job seekers out there on how to write an effective resume.  A resume is typically your first opportunity to present yourself professionally. Often times the resume alone will determine whether a candidate is selected for an in-office interview. This is especially true for entry level roles or any role that generally has a high volume of applicants.  

I have listed 5 tips to help you develop a resume that will help you get the job you are applying to.


1.   Organization and Content.
A good resume will have a nice, easy to read layout. Generally, the layout will include the candidate name and contact information at the top of the page. A brief overview or objective follows, with education information below that. Work experience, volunteer experience, and/or listed relevant skills will appear towards or at the bottom of the page.

The name and contact information should always be listed at the top of the resume. The name should also stand out, so that it is the first thing the viewer sees. This can easily be done by using a slightly larger font size, font type or color. This helps the resume look interesting and less template-like. The contact information should also show at the top in a decent sized font. I would not choose a size smaller than 11. The objective is not a must have. I recommend that high school or college students have objectives, because most times a hiring manager cannot look at your resume only to get an idea of the type of job you are interested in.

The content of the resume should be well-written, grammar free and up-to-date. The resume should show in chronological order from top to bottom (top page would have the most recent experience).  

2.   Format and Consistency.
Formatting your resume correctly is very important. First we want to be sure that we have a clean font, like Calibri, Arial or something similar for any resume text outside of the name, which we’ve mention should be a little creative. We also want to keep a font size of at least 11. You’ll be surprised how many resumes hiring teams receive that are simply too difficult to read or in a really tiny print.

Another area of formatting the resume is ensuring that you have saved the resume as both a Word document and a PDF. Sometimes certain applicant systems do not recognize anything saved as another file type. I’ve even had the experience of an applicant system change a certain font into an unreadable format due to the type of document it is saved as. I definitely do not want this to be you!  It is always helpful to provide both a doc and pdf version of your resume.

Lastly, we want to make sure that the resume is consistent. For example, if your header sections are in a certain font or size, we need to ensure all headers are listed this way. Another example is to, when providing bullets to ensure the ending of the bullet either has a period at the end of not. It’s easy to miss this, but we want to stay consistent throughout.


3.   Keep it to One Page. Unless you have 15+ of experience, you should really only have a one page resume. There are a few reasons behind this. First, one-pagers are very easy to read and straight to the point, which is exactly what hiring managers and recruiters want to see. Next, it’s very easy to pass along to others in various formats. Have you ever tried to pass along multiple pages to someone? You need to have it paper clipped or stapled and risk a page or two getting lost. The one page resume is easy to share after a networking event or career fair in paper format or via email. Lastly, hiring teams and recruiters expect the most important information to show on the first page. If you were to have relevant information on the second or (dare I say it) third page it may be missed. A one page resumes ensures that the most recent and related information is highlighted.


4.   Spell Check and Read. I cannot stress this one enough. It seems so straightforward. In many cases a person will spellcheck the resume and not read through the resume to ensure it is error free. Remember spellcheck will not check for grammar or formatting errors. We should read through the resume to also ensure the content flows well and highlights appropriate skills and experience.  As mentioned, we should only have one page to review. You can do this. Don’t skip this step!

5.   Cater your resume to the job. Use relevant keywords in your resume language that are in the job description you are applying to. Take note of synonyms as well. An example of this can be the words communication and “public relations”. Both are used interchangeably, while having very slight difference in meaning. You may use the words “public relations”, while the job description asks for communication or PR skills. The job description may ask for things like AP style, experience with media, or social marketing. In this case you would definitely want to include these keywords if you hold the experience. 

Some applicant systems allow for rankings based on the keywords in a resume. The system would match up with the listed job description and bring those that rank highly to the top of a recruiter applicant list. At my company we do not use this system, because we do not want to exclude candidates that may be a match, however many companies do. Please be sure to cater your resume to the job, it can only help you during your job search.

Check out the picture below for a snapshot of a resume template to assist you.



Please leave a comment if you have questions or would like a template emailed to you directly. 
  

Happy Hunting!

Jess

Saturday, May 7, 2016

25 Statements for Adults


I was recently thinking about a trip I had taken to Minneapolis, Minnesota. While visiting, I stopped by the Mall of America and it really brought back great childhood memories. I started thinking about life as a kid and remembered how simple things were. From that I began thinking about adult life and some of the silly things I get upset about as an adult. Below are just a few statements that I sometimes think about.  




1. I think a big part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. (This is especially true when you are arguing with the opposite gender or your parent)

3. I totally want to take back all of those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How in the world are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. I have yet to use geography since high school. 

7. The moment you realize your GPS/Google maps is directing you to take a longer route or the wrong route. 

8. Petting puppies = instant mood improvement.

9. Life = tiredness. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. When you wake up in the morning, you normally know whether you will have a productive day or not. 

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. That moment when you realize you have only 5% phone battery and you go into panic mode. 

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I remember not to answer when they call.

15. You cannot like everyone, it's actually healthy not to. 

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet that on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with alcohol than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. Most days I eat because I am either stressed or bored. 

19. There are many times when someone is speaking to me and I am nodding my head and saying "oh" or " oh, really" in response and I am actively not listening. 

20. There should be a speed minimum. 

21. Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever.

22. Not accelerating quickly while on the acceleration ramp should be a crime. 


25. Friday should not be a part of the work week. 

Jess

5 Tips on Gaining a PR job

Well it is about that time, isn’t it? It is now May and there are a lot of new graduates looking for full-time job opportunities. Congratulations to all of our new grads out there. That is a huge (Donald Trump voice) accomplishment.



 Since I work at a large PR firm I have seen so many new graduates that want to break into the PR industry that do not get the chance. It is not an easy task. Large PR firms, especially global firms, have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to screening candidates. I decided to write an article with tips to help out anyone trying to figure out how to use their communications degree to become a PR professional. Below are 5 tips to help you gain access to the industry.

1.   Networking. Utilize your networks. Don’t think you have networks? Well, I am here to tell you that you do. We ALL have networks. If you know at least one person, you have a network. Who do you know and who they know? Think about your communications/PR professors. You will be surprised that many professors have worked or are currently working at a PR firm. Most professors will have firms reach out directly to get recommendations for entry level jobs and internships. I am hoping that you have worked your butt off while in college and have a list of professors ready to refer you. You do have this, right? (Please say yes or get to writing out that list!) Stay in touch with these professors and tell them the agencies you are applying to. Ask about any contacts they have.

Other people in your network might include family, friends, neighbors, volunteer groups, etc. Find out if anyone you know is working at a PR firm. It does not matter if the person works in the accounting department or if they are an intern in the IT department, as long as they are willing to personally send your resume and refer you to the hiring team, your resume has a better chance of getting reviewed. Recruiter.com states that referral candidates are 3-4 times more likely to be hired than non-referral candidates. Yes, read that one again. I can also say from my experiences recruiting, that if someone sends a referral, at the minimum I would review the resume and typically I would have a courtesy phone conversation. That is a really big advantage over other applicants. The other thing to consider is to continue building relationships. Building relationships with clients, team members, and other stakeholders will be a large part of your job. Networking is a skill that will help you in gaining this skill.

2.   Resume. Get that resume right! Now that we have a plan to get your resume in front of the hiring team, we need to be sure the resume leads to an interview. How do we do that? We need to present a well-developed resume. There are a few things to focus on when writing the resume.  Primarily, you want a resume that is clear, easy to read, relevant and up-to-date. Lastly, there should absolutely be NO spelling, grammar or formatting errors. Seriously, not even one. You are being judged for your writing.  Check out my blog post on resume writing if you'd like more tips. 

3.   Communication. Display strong writing skills. To get that PR job, you need to be an exceptional writer. That’s obvious, right? That’s a minimum requirement. Remember that communication include both oral and written. First let’s discuss writing. You can demonstrate your writing ability before even showing samples or taking a writing test (which will come later in the selection process, of course). The resume, cover letter and application will demonstrate your writing so be sure to carefully complete these materials. You should also have strong writing samples prepared and be prepared to take a timed writing test. Your writing skills should encompass creativity and style.

The hiring team will want to also see that you have knowledge of AP style writing, which you’ve gained from your courses. Experience writing press releases is a huge skill PR teams look for in junior level talent as well. Along with writing, the hiring team will want to see that you actually enjoy writing, so if you happen to have a blog or you write content on a website, ghostwrite or something related, talk about it! Don’t be shy. The other end of the communication spectrum is speaking. The ability to speak with confidence and intelligence is a must. Your communication should be polished, professional while also personal. This may sound obvious, but I’ve spoken with plenty of strong candidates that had a stellar resume and near perfect writing samples, but had mediocre speaking abilities. Most often this does not work in the PR world. A good tip to improve speaking is to practice. Develop an elevator speech and get comfortable with speaking in a professional manner.  

4.   Dynamic skills. Display knowledge of social, digital, design and/or development. Most large PR firms are developing integrated communications campaigns. This means that instead of clients going to multiple specialty firms to get their communications needs, one agency will manage multiple needs. PR teams need employees with diverse skills and flexibility to work across teams. You may work with marketing, creative & design, marketing research, digital and much more. In particular, most firms look to junior talent to have knowledge of social platforms and tools they can use to navigate/develop opportunities for clients.

5.   Interview well. You absolutely must WOW during the interview. You should dress for a successful interview. Check out the blog post here if you’d like some ideas on dressing for the interview. Another thing you will want to do is bring writing samples/portfolio and copies of your resume. Do research on the firm, including its’ clients and capabilities. Showcase your experience and interests through excellent communication skills. Please also send a thank you note to the interview team.

So there you have it! 5 tips for you young PR professionals to use that well-deserved degree to get the agency gig you’ve been dreaming about for the past 4 years.

Happy Hunting!
Jess

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jack's Bar-B-Que in Nashville

Typically on this blog I like to provide career related content…

HOWEVER, I am actually a huge foodie and I love travelling, so I wanted to share an awesome restaurant I visited recently. Over this past weekend, I took a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee. What a great city! While I was visiting, I stopped by a restaurant that many people had suggested to me. Of course, me and my friends wanted to get barbecue during our visit. We waited a little less than 1 hour to order my meal from Jack’s Bar-B-Que. I must say that the wait was well worth it!